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Joyce Endee

Few deliberate over teachers' contract

September 06, 2011
ALTON — A special deliberative session was held on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. at Prospect Mountain High School with less than one percent of the registered voters in town in attendance.

A total of 35 registered voters signed into the special deliberative session, with more than 10 on stage as members of the budget committee, the school board or the administration.

At the time of the deliberative session, the number of registered voters on the Alton checklist showed 3,564 registered voters.

The purpose of this session was to discuss approving a new teachers' contract after an earlier proposed contract failed by a tie vote in the March election, 242 to 242.

The article that was being deliberated involves approving a new teachers' contact for the 2011-2012 school year that would take the contract that didn't pass in March and add $23,523 to the bottom line.

Member Lynda Goossens explained that increase is due to the one-time only one percent increase in salary and is partially offset by the reduction in committee compensation.

The article is recommended by a vote of 5-0 by the Alton School Board and isn't recommended by a vote of 4-2 by the Alton Budget Committee.

The vote for this article will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Prospect Mountain High School.

Steve Miller, the chairman of the budget committee, read a letter that has been published in several local newspapers including this one as the committee's opening statement.

Dave St. Cyr objected to Miller reading his letter into the record as the budget committee's opening statement, but the members of the committee agreed that Miller speaks for all of them.

Miller pointed to test scores as the main reason to have the teachers continue to work without a contract, claiming statistics from schooldigger.com that show that the test scores in Alton are in the bottom six percent of the state.

Krista Argiropolis responded to Miller's criticism on the public floor, explaining that it was only her personal opinion and that she wasn't speaking on behalf of the school board. She pointed that the school's AYP scores have been inching closer to the "100 percent" required by President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.

If the contact is not passed by the voters again, the school board will be forced to go into deliberation and try to reach a new contract with the Alton Teachers' Association.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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